Tuesday, February 28, 2023

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending February 28, 2023

Before the news, a note about an upcoming event: The so-called Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act neither prevents nor treats child abuse – rather it reinforces the foundations of the child welfare surveillance state.  There’s still time to register for a webinar tomorrow (March 2) explaining the harm of CAPTA and what can be done about it. 

● In Arizona, ProPublica exposes the smear campaign that led a cowardly governor to fire her reform-minded “child welfare” agency chief – after only a few weeks on the job.  

Last week on this Blog, I wrote about how family policing agencies play the bonding card to turn “child welfare” into the ultimate middle-class entitlement: Step right up and take a poor person’s child for your very own.  Now, from North Carolina, INDYweek reports on a tragically perfect illustration.  If, after reading the story, you want to show support for the family, you can sign a petition here

● As I noted in that post last week, in Kansas, some lawmakers want to make it even easier to do to families in that state what North Carolina family police are doing in the case described by INDYweek.  They’re out to preference strangers over families in many adoption cases.  But the horrors about foster care in Kansas are not coming from kinship caregivers.  Check out how stranger-care has been going in recent cases

● It’s been more than a decade since NPR exposed the rampant needless destruction of Native American families by the “child welfare” system in South Dakota.  Yet a legislative committee still voted down two bills that, it appears, simply would have codified provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, in case that law is overturned by the Supreme Court.  Instead, South Dakota Searchlight reports, the committee reluctantly supported creating a task force to study the astoundingly high rate at which Native children still are taken away.  How reluctantly? Said one lawmaker who, presumably, never heard the NPR stories: “I can’t believe we would remove children just for poverty.” UPDATE, MARCH 2: And the full House killed the bill.

● If you run group homes and institutions, the one group you don’t want anyone to talk to is youth who actually were forced to live in them.  Because this is what they’ll tell you

● The Prison Policy Initiative has a new report out on how some states are taking steps to mitigate the harm to children when parents are incarcerated.  As the report explains: 

Parental incarceration can have lasting effects on children into adulthood. Child development experts consider a child’s household member becoming incarcerated an “Adverse Childhood Experience,” which correlates to challenges throughout childhood development, negative effects on health, and adverse impacts on employment and educational outcomes. The state’s typical responses to parental incarceration often worsen this crisis, permanently changing a family’s relationships by placing children in foster care or terminating parental rights, but advocates are fighting for creative and holistic solutions. 

● In Aurora, Colorado a city councilor and her family were victimized by an anonymous, malicious false allegation of child abuse filed by someone who, fortunately, did a poor job of covering her tracks.  Now, KDVR-TV reports, she’s persuaded a state legislator to introduce a bill to replace anonymous reporting with confidential reporting. 

● In Illinois, the Majority Leader of the State Senate has introduced legislation to provide some due process protections for families where false allegations are based on a medical misdiagnosis

● I’ve often written that what we call child abuse is not a “public health” problem – it’s a social justice problem.  The so-called “medical model” has been used obscure the confusion of poverty with neglect and the racial bias that permeates family policing.  Now, in The Nation, a doctor argues that public health itself is a social justice problem.  “Want to fix public health?” asks Dr. Eric Reinhart. “Stop Thinking Like a Doctor.”